Significantly more consumers and businesses are relying on technology to buy and sell products and services during the pandemic. In fact, this unprecedented rapid consumer and business digital adoption is estimated to have achieved five-year projections in a matter of a few weeks. Businesses are adapting while consumers are building new purchasing habits as they value safety, convenience and speed.
Digital spending is becoming the new normal. A recent survey shows that three out of four buyers using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to normal.
Today, entrepreneurs have a big opportunity to offer solutions that, more than ever, customers are willing to use. And it’s not just about online shipping. Some of the industries with the highest digital adoption by first-time users include banking, entertainment, grocery, apparel, utilities, telecommunication, travel and insurance. Furthermore, data shows that the majority of consumer spending is going to housing, healthcare, food, mobility, education, travel and fashion.
History shows that crises are startup incubators. Some of today’s biggest companies were launched during and shortly after the 2008 economic crisis, including Venmo, Uber, Credit Karma, Slack, WhatsApp and Groupon.
There’s always a challenge in building a thriving startup, no matter the economic condition. The advantage of launching a startup during a global pandemic is that you can clearly see the untapped opportunities and trends. Because consumers’ change in purchasing habits driven by the pandemic will likely become the new normal, building a startup today not only serves to address customers’ current needs but aims to grow and thrive as a company for many years to come. Use these tips and insights to position your startup for short and long-term success.
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1. Think Long-Term But Act Short-Term
For new and existing startups, thinking long-term but acting short-term means quickly focusing on addressing today’s urgent needs while planning for how your solution can evolve and improve to better solve customers’ problems over the company’s next phases. Technically, this means prioritizing the launch of must-have features and functionalities that customers demand today. In fact, what you will build tomorrow will depend on how your customers feel about and react to what you build today anyway.
If you see an opportunity in a growing space and have an idea how you can better address customers’ problems, research which part, like key features or items, of your competitors’ products are customers buying, using and need the most. Instead of aiming at building a comprehensive solution that can compete with the big players, focus on quickly launching a better version of the key solution, even if it means addressing a small, underserved segment of the market.
The goal is to move fast by building less but better solutions that can allow you to reduce the initial investment, gather customer insights and build the next version of your product in response to demand.
2. Boost Your Digital Marketing Efforts
With today’s unprecedented growth of existing and new customers’ adoption of digital products and services, companies are seeing a unique opportunity to acquire and build a long-term business relationship with a new group of adopters of digital solutions.
Today, as an entrepreneur with a new or young startup, digital marketing should no longer be a passive initiative. You could be leaving money on the table for not boosting your products and services through campaigns or paid ads. Research shows that bold resource allocation to digital initiatives, including but not limited to advertising initiatives, correlates positively with value creation. Even with a tight marketing budget, you can reach more of your ideal customers with creative and well-executed campaigns.
In sum, capturing startup opportunities during the pandemic comes down to research and execution. It’s about learning about customer needs and executing on developing and marketing a solution that customers are ready to pay for and use today while evolving and adapting to the market and customers’ growing and changing need and purchasing behavior.